Massachusetts law about gambling and casinos

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on gambling and casinos law.

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

COVID-19

COVID-19 updates and alerts, Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Massachusetts laws

18 yrs old attend charitable bingo or bazaar

St.2016, c.219, §§ 135 and 137 As amended by St.2018, § 154, legalizes daily fantasy sports (DFS)

MGL c.10, §§ 37-40 Beano, raffles, compulsive gambling

21 yrs old casino gaming area or DFS

MGL c.23K Massachusetts Gaming Commission
Permits up to 3 casinos and 1 slots-only casino in the state. Has several provisions particular to Indian tribes.

MGL c.23N Sports betting

MGL c.137 Gaming

MGL c.271 Gambling crimes

Massachusetts regulations

205 CMR Mass. Gaming Commission

940 CMR 12 Regulations governing raffles

940 CMR 13 Regulations governing bazaars

940 CMR 30 Illegal lotteries, sweepstakes and de facto gambling establishments

940 CMR 34 Daily fantasy sports contest operators in Massachusetts  

961 CMR Mass. Lottery Commission

Federal laws

15 USC §§ 1171-1173 Johnson Act Regulates transportation of gambling devices

25 USC §§ 2701 et seq. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act Sets the terms for how tribes can operate casinos and bingo parlors; enables off-reservation land for casinos; defines the 3 classes of gaming

31 USC §§ 5361-5367 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 Prohibits companies from accepting money for internet gambling if the gambling is illegal under existing federal or state laws; addresses the transfer of funds to online casinos

Federal regulations

25 CFR 290 Tribal revenue allocation plans

25 CFR 291 Class III gaming procedures
Used when a state and an Indian tribe are unable to voluntarily agree to a compact and "the State has asserted its immunity from suit brought by an Indian tribe under 25 U.S.C. 2710(d)(7)(B)."

25 CFR 292 Gaming on trust lands acquired after October 17, 1988
"Articulates standards that the BIA will follow in interpreting the various exceptions to the gaming prohibitions contained in section 2719 of IGRA."

25 CFR Chapter III National Indian Gaming Commission regulations

Selected case law

Buzulis v. Mohegan Sun Casino, 69 Mass.App.Ct. 708 (2007)
"The District Court and Appellate Division judges were correct in concluding that the Gaming Disputes Court has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over the action between the plaintiffs and the casino."

Connecticut National Bank of Hartford v. Richard Kommit, 31 Mass.App.Ct. 348 (1991)
In an action brought by a Connecticut bank against Massachusetts residents, seeking payment of $5,500 borrowed in New Jersey from an automatic teller machine with a credit card, the judge incorrectly applied the law of New Jersey in granting summary judgment to the bank, where the credit agreement expressly stated that the law of Connecticut governed the use of the credit card and account, and where New Jersey, under its choice-of-law rules, would have looked to the law chosen by the parties.

DeCosmo v. Blue Tarp Redevelopment, LLC, 487 Mass. 690 (2021)
Court concluded that the 2019 rules permitted a Massachusetts casino to pay odds of six to five to a player who was dealt a winning blackjack hand, while not otherwise adhering to the requirements for the "6 to 5 blackjack variation" that were articulated in those rules, including the layouts of the blackjack tables.

Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, 572 U.S. 782, (2014)
Tribal sovereign immunity held to bar state's suit against tribe for allegedly violating Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C.S. § 2701 et seq.) by opening casino outside Indian lands.

Murphy v. NCAA, __ U.S. __, 138 S. Ct. 1461 (May 14, 2018)
Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) provision (28 U.S.C.S. § 3702(1)) prohibiting state activities including operation or licensing of sports-wagering scheme violated Federal Constitution's Tenth Amendment anticommandeering doctrine; other PASPA (28 U.S.C.S. § 3701 et seq.) provisions were not severable. 

New Hampshire Lottery Commission v. Rosen, 986 F.3d 38 (2021)
"[T]he Wire Act applies only to interstate wire communications related to sporting events or contests."

Agencies

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Responsible for recognizing tribes and tribal land, revenue allocation, and more.

Department of Justice Office of Tribal Justice 
OTJ is the primary point of contact for the Department of Justice's government to government relationship with Indian tribes.

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Gaming Enforcement Division
Enforces the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011. Investigates and prosecutes illegal activity including gaming-related financial crime, organized crime, corruption, and money laundering.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is responsible for implementing the expanded gaming law passed in November 2011.

National Indian Gaming Commission 
Has primary responsibility to oversee Indian gaming

Office of Problem Gambling Services, Mass. Dept. of Public Health.
Resources for those facing gambling addiction.

Web sources

Attorney General's FAQs about nonprofit gaming events
An informative FAQ for charities and nonprofits interested in conducting a gaming event.

Everything you need to know about Massachusetts new sports betting law, WBUR, January 2023.
Clear answers to practical questions about the Massachusetts sports betting law in a Q&A format, including information on where to place bets and what sports can be bet on.

Guidance on raffles, Mass. Attorney General.
Information on the rules and guidelines to follow if your organization is considering holding a raffle in Massachusetts.

Guide to taxes: gambling and lottery winnings, Mass. Department of Revenue.
Explains how to report gambling and lottery winnings.

MA problem gambling helpline, Office of Problem Gambling Services.
A toll-free number (800-327-5050) connecting callers with resources for gambling addiction. 

Massachusetts legislature passes bill to legalize sports betting in the commonwealth, National Law Review.
A summary of the Massachusetts sports betting law signed on August 10, 2022.

NIGC Bulletin 05-1 Use of net gaming revenues bulletin, National Indian Gaming Commission.
Bulletin was written "to encourage tribes to employ policies and procedures in their expenditure of tribal gaming revenues that comply with IGRA and will minimize complaints and misunderstanding among the tribal membership and interested outside parties."

The tip of the iceberg: daily fantasy sports a harbinger of future regulatory challenges, 60 Boston Bar Journal 29, Spring 2016.

Unlawful internet gambling enforcement act of 2006: overview, FDIC.
Provides detailed summary of the law and sets procedures for reviewing compliance by financial institutions.

White paper on daily fantasy sports by Mass. Gaming Commission, January 11, 2016.

Print sources

Cohen's handbook of Federal Indian law, by Felix S. Cohen. LexisNexis, with supplement.

Criminal law, 3rd ed. (Mass. practice v. 32) West Pub. Co., 2001 with supplement; Chapter 23, Gaming.

Deal or no deal (Audio CD) Transacting in Native America, American Bar Association, 2008.

Gaming law in a nutshell, by Walter T. Champion, Jr. and I. Nelson Rose. West, 2018.

The law of regulated gambling: a practical guide for business lawyers, ed. Keith Miller, American Bar Association, 2020.

Massachusetts proof of cases, West, annual, with supplement. Chapter 51, Gaming offenses.

Summary of basic law, Mass. practice v.14A, West, annual. Chapter 7, Gaming offenses, §§ 7.274-7.278.

The Supreme Court and tribal gaming: California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, by Ralph A. Rossum. University Press of Kansas, c2011.

Contact

Last updated: February 3, 2023

Help Us Improve Mass.gov with your feedback

Feedback